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Thread: Coronavirus - Rugby League Implications

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Heretic View Post
    The really shocking thing is that the NRL is in the same, if not a worse, position. With the amount of money floating around in it, admittedly not to the levels of other sports but still significant, you'd think they'd have managed to build up reserves. Fifth and Last podcast have been talking a lot about it in recent weeks.
    That doesn't surprise me in the slightest with those arrogant clowns. They love to throw the cash about, take the moral high ground and call the shots when times are good but they still plead poverty now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Dave View Post
    That doesn't surprise me in the slightest with those arrogant clowns. They love to throw the cash about, take the moral high ground and call the shots when times are good but they still plead poverty now.
    I agree though I think the precariousness is real enough. A few NRL clubs were apparently near enough on their last legs almost the day after the suspension was announced. Apparently the main reason why V'landys was brought in was to really financially shake up "rugbah leeg" in Australia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Dave View Post
    That doesn't surprise me in the slightest with those arrogant clowns. They love to throw the cash about, take the moral high ground and call the shots when times are good but they still plead poverty now.
    Plus their at best blase, at worst ignorant attitude towards international RL. I agree with you.

    I won't be shedding many tears if the NRL went to the wall, I'll be honest. Far as I'm concerned, we should be banning players from representing England/GB if they sign for an NRL club anyway. Only way we are going to improve the standards over here
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Fridge View Post
    Plus their at best blase, at worst ignorant attitude towards international RL. I agree with you.

    I won't be shedding many tears if the NRL went to the wall, I'll be honest. Far as I'm concerned, we should be banning players from representing England/GB if they sign for an NRL club anyway. Only way we are going to improve the standards over here
    I've said the exact same thing regarding players going over there and I don't care that it would make us weaker for it. We need to start taking back some of their power but I doubt there's anyone in the game with enough balls to force it through.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Dave View Post
    I've said the exact same thing regarding players going over there and I don't care that it would make us weaker for it. We need to start taking back some of their power but I doubt there's anyone in the game with enough balls to force it through.
    Spot on. The rivalry has been sanitised with most of our squad playing over there. Plus we now play a poorer standard of the version they play.

    Need to get some bottle & get back to our own way of playing & stop pandering to the NRL. Particularly as it turns out they aren't all that clever financially as they may like to think.

    If the sport survives, I hope it gives us in the UK the shake up that we so desperately need
    Dave Woods: the guy who makes Eddie Hemmings look like a decent commentator

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Fridge View Post
    Plus their at best blase, at worst ignorant attitude towards international RL. I agree with you.

    I won't be shedding many tears if the NRL went to the wall, I'll be honest. Far as I'm concerned, we should be banning players from representing England/GB if they sign for an NRL club anyway. Only way we are going to improve the standards over here
    To be honest, their attitude towards international RL is not something which I've thought about much. Probably because not being English, Australian or New Zealander, international RL holds significantly less attraction for me. I think there is a hidden benefit in national team players going to play in the strongest competition possible though. For example, I've always thought "Gatland's Law" was a case of the WRU shooting itself in the foot because players leaving to play particularly Top 14 would gain comeptitive sharpness. That said, the difference in level between the Welsh regions in rugby union and the Pro 14 and the standard of rugby union most top French clubs are performing at and the Top 14 is far more stark than the difference between the Superleague and the NRL in rugby league. I agree though that something needs to be done to improve standards in NH RL. One place to start might be not swooning at the feet of Australian coaches and actually only taking them on when they are better than what is already available locally. For every superb SH coach like Holbrook who is brought in there are always a number who you kind of have the feeling are not significantly better than a NH option.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Fridge View Post
    Spot on. The rivalry has been sanitised with most of our squad playing over there. Plus we now play a poorer standard of the version they play.

    Need to get some bottle & get back to our own way of playing & stop pandering to the NRL. Particularly as it turns out they aren't all that clever financially as they may like to think.

    If the sport survives, I hope it gives us in the UK the shake up that we so desperately need
    You sound as though you know what you're talking about. I take you've never worked for the RFL?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Dave View Post
    You sound as though you know what you're talking about. I take you've never worked for the RFL?
    Ha ha. I'm afraid not
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Heretic View Post
    To be honest, their attitude towards international RL is not something which I've thought about much. Probably because not being English, Australian or New Zealander, international RL holds significantly less attraction for me. I think there is a hidden benefit in national team players going to play in the strongest competition possible though. For example, I've always thought "Gatland's Law" was a case of the WRU shooting itself in the foot because players leaving to play particularly Top 14 would gain comeptitive sharpness. That said, the difference in level between the Welsh regions in rugby union and the Pro 14 and the standard of rugby union most top French clubs are performing at and the Top 14 is far more stark than the difference between the Superleague and the NRL in rugby league. I agree though that something needs to be done to improve standards in NH RL. One place to start might be not swooning at the feet of Australian coaches and actually only taking them on when they are better than what is already available locally. For every superb SH coach like Holbrook who is brought in there are always a number who you kind of have the feeling are not significantly better than a NH option.
    I understand you.

    My line of thinking is that you watch SL, & it's just a lower quality, very similar style that you see in the NRL. When it comes to the test matches, we lose the war of attrition because they complete higher and kick better. We play exactly the same way but not as consistently or quickly because their ruck is quicker and their refs are better.

    We haven't beaten Australia since 2006 & yeah we narrowly lost a WC final but we didn't score a point.

    Back in the late 80s and 90s, we didn't beat them over a series but we would tend to win one of the games with 2 teams with their own style. Everything went on in them test matches. The majority were fantastic. Now all it is, is the same plays, over and over and over. It's boring and we lose.

    Wane is not known for his expansive style, but I reckon he's smart enough to know that the only way to catch them out is to try some off the cuff stuff. That said, the majority of the players are coached to be completely robotic.

    Rugby League is not as skilful as it once was because everyone is obsessed with getting massive in the gym, bashing people & completion rates.

    And what on earth is this new term that has appeared. 'If we'd had iced that...?' Wolf says it. It's utter nonsense
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    Aren’t the issues in the NRL just a case of well run clubs operating at a low level then getting loads of cash so then assumed they could mortgage their futures on a never ending supply of cash? Added to that we saw a massive rise is player salaries (far higher than they arguably needed to be) off the back of Channel Nine, Fox and Channel Seven having OTT bidding wars to get rights to the games, because nothing else these days outside of live sport guarantees big TV advertising revenue.

    Back in the 1980s clubs like Balmain and Canterbury etc ticked along nicely, playing at great little suburban grounds in a really good comp, watched by decent crowds and getting good ratings on TV. But then money came into the game, more money was demanded for TV rights, players then wanted more money, ticket prices had to rise and clubs decided to stop playing at these suburban grounds because they weren’t modern enough and couldn’t pay their way. It’s all rosy until you get one hit which ruins it all, because it’s all existing on the premise that the good times will never stop.

    It’s why I am quite realistic about the game ending up back at semi pro level, and why I will probably enjoy it more in a weird way. If the Aussie game took a hit which resulted in lower salaries, clubs cutting their cloth and going back to being what they were 20-30 years ago it wouldn’t be the end of the world IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Fridge View Post
    I understand you.

    My line of thinking is that you watch SL, & it's just a lower quality, very similar style that you see in the NRL. When it comes to the test matches, we lose the war of attrition because they complete higher and kick better. We play exactly the same way but not as consistently or quickly because their ruck is quicker and their refs are better.

    We haven't beaten Australia since 2006 & yeah we narrowly lost a WC final but we didn't score a point.

    Back in the late 80s and 90s, we didn't beat them over a series but we would tend to win one of the games with 2 teams with their own style. Everything went on in them test matches. The majority were fantastic. Now all it is, is the same plays, over and over and over. It's boring and we lose.

    Wane is not known for his expansive style, but I reckon he's smart enough to know that the only way to catch them out is to try some off the cuff stuff. That said, the majority of the players are coached to be completely robotic.

    Rugby League is not as skilful as it once was because everyone is obsessed with getting massive in the gym, bashing people & completion rates.

    And what on earth is this new term that has appeared. 'If we'd had iced that...?' Wolf says it. It's utter nonsense
    I agree that each team, particularly national team, should have its own style. I wonder how much a kind of lazy "the Aussies are the top level so we'll copy what they do and hope for the best" is responsible. As I said, are we really convinced that all the SH (Australian) coaches who get employed in SL are significantly better than what is available locally? Undoubtedly the best SL players leaving to play in the NRL has a negative effect but it has a positive one too as the best players are constantly playing against the best. I think ultra professionalism has taken a lot of skill and differentiation out of most sports though. Taking union as an example because the difference used to be stark, you often can't tell the difference between a back and a forward these days because the focus is on being as strong as humanly possible and turning matches into wars of attrition. That has also become dominated by robotic style players. I also think that generally, because media attention is so intense, players in all sports are less inclined (possibly trained to be less inclined) to try risky stuff and end up with it not coming off. Soccer goalkeepers are a key example, a parry is considered a good save these days even if the ball falls to a forward who then scores. It used to be more usual that a goalkeeper would catch, punch clear or turn the ball behind/over the post/bar. So rugby league isn't alone in having become a bit more samey. I would say though that international RL needs a severe shake up altogether. If you think of soccer and union, there are six, seven, possibly eight countries that from one World Cup to another are potentially candidates. In RL, there are two at best three and the rest are light years behind. Of course it's limited by the low popularity internationally but there are things that could be tried out to give the rest of us more of an interest (teams entering a shield competition perhaps if they exit before a certain stage). As it stands, my interest in the World Cup is very low and with all respect, whether England, Australia or NZ win the thing doesn't excite me.

    In terms of "if we'd had iced that..." your guess is as good as mine. Again it strikes me as laziness which is apparent in other sports too (I'm guessing it won't be of huge interest here but I've had a similar reaction to the prevalance of the term "dirty ball" which is used in hurling these days; it's complete garbage, "dirty ball" is a Gaelic football term, nothing to do with hurling).

    Going back to the point though, it would be no harm if one thing to emerge from this crisis, at least in RL terms, was a shake up of the international game from the top table of Australia, England and NZ down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Heretic View Post
    I agree that each team, particularly national team, should have its own style. I wonder how much a kind of lazy "the Aussies are the top level so we'll copy what they do and hope for the best" is responsible. As I said, are we really convinced that all the SH (Australian) coaches who get employed in SL are significantly better than what is available locally? Undoubtedly the best SL players leaving to play in the NRL has a negative effect but it has a positive one too as the best players are constantly playing against the best. I think ultra professionalism has taken a lot of skill and differentiation out of most sports though. Taking union as an example because the difference used to be stark, you often can't tell the difference between a back and a forward these days because the focus is on being as strong as humanly possible and turning matches into wars of attrition. That has also become dominated by robotic style players. I also think that generally, because media attention is so intense, players in all sports are less inclined (possibly trained to be less inclined) to try risky stuff and end up with it not coming off. Soccer goalkeepers are a key example, a parry is considered a good save these days even if the ball falls to a forward who then scores. It used to be more usual that a goalkeeper would catch, punch clear or turn the ball behind/over the post/bar. So rugby league isn't alone in having become a bit more samey. I would say though that international RL needs a severe shake up altogether. If you think of soccer and union, there are six, seven, possibly eight countries that from one World Cup to another are potentially candidates. In RL, there are two at best three and the rest are light years behind. Of course it's limited by the low popularity internationally but there are things that could be tried out to give the rest of us more of an interest (teams entering a shield competition perhaps if they exit before a certain stage). As it stands, my interest in the World Cup is very low and with all respect, whether England, Australia or NZ win the thing doesn't excite me.

    In terms of "if we'd had iced that..." your guess is as good as mine. Again it strikes me as laziness which is apparent in other sports too (I'm guessing it won't be of huge interest here but I've had a similar reaction to the prevalance of the term "dirty ball" which is used in hurling these days; it's complete garbage, "dirty ball" is a Gaelic football term, nothing to do with hurling).

    Going back to the point though, it would be no harm if one thing to emerge from this crisis, at least in RL terms, was a shake up of the international game from the top table of Australia, England and NZ down.
    Cracking post this Heretic. What has really hit home is your point about us 'copying the Aussies' as it works for them. I think this is spot on.

    Although I'm not a massive fan of Alex Murphy, he states in his autobiography that following what the Australians do will get us nowhere. He is right and that was back in 2000 ish.

    As you have stated, you aren't that interested in the international game at the moment, and explained why. I think this an important point because we need to get the fans engaged with international RL & the wider public. It's the only way we are going to get any proper coverage.

    But as it's been poorly managed for so long & the NRL only bothered about their league and SOO, here we are.
    Dave Woods: the guy who makes Eddie Hemmings look like a decent commentator

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray77 View Post
    Aren’t the issues in the NRL just a case of well run clubs operating at a low level then getting loads of cash so then assumed they could mortgage their futures on a never ending supply of cash? Added to that we saw a massive rise is player salaries (far higher than they arguably needed to be) off the back of Channel Nine, Fox and Channel Seven having OTT bidding wars to get rights to the games, because nothing else these days outside of live sport guarantees big TV advertising revenue.

    Back in the 1980s clubs like Balmain and Canterbury etc ticked along nicely, playing at great little suburban grounds in a really good comp, watched by decent crowds and getting good ratings on TV. But then money came into the game, more money was demanded for TV rights, players then wanted more money, ticket prices had to rise and clubs decided to stop playing at these suburban grounds because they weren’t modern enough and couldn’t pay their way. It’s all rosy until you get one hit which ruins it all, because it’s all existing on the premise that the good times will never stop.

    It’s why I am quite realistic about the game ending up back at semi pro level, and why I will probably enjoy it more in a weird way. If the Aussie game took a hit which resulted in lower salaries, clubs cutting their cloth and going back to being what they were 20-30 years ago it wouldn’t be the end of the world IMO.
    I don't think going back to semi pro would be all that bad either. It would be less time in the gym and wrestling on the floor & actually working on some skill with the ball
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Dave View Post
    You sound as though you know what you're talking about. I take you've never worked for the RFL?
    I worked very closely with them Dave from 2004 till 2010. They had some good people, David Rotherham being one. What I will say is they lacked leadership from the influential senior people who had a very political outlook. I totally understand individuals such as Eamon, Ian Lenaghan and other self made businessmen saying crickey is this for real. I loved my involvement in the game and met some great people and being able to help Robbie Paul with his educational aspirations was good for our brand.

    I spent time with Leeds and the club with one person in particular had a belief the game is all about them. SLE and the move to Salford Quays was I believe to break that stranglehold.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Fridge View Post
    I don't think going back to semi pro would be all that bad either. It would be less time in the gym and wrestling on the floor & actually working on some skill with the ball
    Agreed. The best rugby from years gone by was produced by a combination of ball skill over physique and defences not being made up of super humans who can cover every blade of grass for 80 minutes when you throw interchanges into the equation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyprus View Post
    I worked very closely with them Dave from 2004 till 2010. They had some good people, David Rotherham being one. What I will say is they lacked leadership from the influential senior people who had a very political outlook. I totally understand individuals such as Eamon, Ian Lenaghan and other self made businessmen saying crickey is this for real. I loved my involvement in the game and met some great people and being able to help Robbie Paul with his educational aspirations was good for our brand.

    I spent time with Leeds and the club with one person in particular had a belief the game is all about them. SLE and the move to Salford Quays was I believe to break that stranglehold.

    Now I wonder who that person was?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyprus View Post
    I worked very closely with them Dave from 2004 till 2010. They had some good people, David Rotherham being one. What I will say is they lacked leadership from the influential senior people who had a very political outlook. I totally understand individuals such as Eamon, Ian Lenaghan and other self made businessmen saying crickey is this for real. I loved my involvement in the game and met some great people and being able to help Robbie Paul with his educational aspirations was good for our brand.

    I spent time with Leeds and the club with one person in particular had a belief the game is all about them. SLE and the move to Salford Quays was I believe to break that stranglehold.
    I was poking fun but I get what you mean about lack of leadership. I still think we lack that under Elstone although I'm Everton fan so my judgement is probably a bit clouded. At least you have some fond memories to look back on.

    I'm sure most will take a good guess, and a good second guess about who you're referring to at Leeds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph fridge View Post
    now i wonder who that person was?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Fridge View Post
    I don't think going back to semi pro would be all that bad either. It would be less time in the gym and wrestling on the floor & actually working on some skill with the ball
    I could live with that. I might be the kick up the arse the game needs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Fridge View Post
    Cracking post this Heretic. What has really hit home is your point about us 'copying the Aussies' as it works for them. I think this is spot on.

    Although I'm not a massive fan of Alex Murphy, he states in his autobiography that following what the Australians do will get us nowhere. He is right and that was back in 2000 ish.

    As you have stated, you aren't that interested in the international game at the moment, and explained why. I think this an important point because we need to get the fans engaged with international RL & the wider public. It's the only way we are going to get any proper coverage.

    But as it's been poorly managed for so long & the NRL only bothered about their league and SOO, here we are.
    Thanks

    The thing is I love rugby league and watch a huge matches across a season but the international game just doesn't do anything for me. Even during the World Cup, I'll probably watch relatively few games. Tier 1 is so small and the gap between tier 1 and the rest is huge. Other sports, at international level, you can have upsets fairly frequently, unfashionable teams going a long way, movement of teams up and down the rungs etc. I made an earlier point saying that whilst I'd love an extended period of Saints success, I wouldn't want Saints to emerge out of this crisis in far better shape than everyone else because I wouldn't want to get to a situation like in domestic (and Champions League) soccer where one team (England and Spain are slight exceptions but even there it's 2, at best 3) wins everything every year even if it were my team winning and you know they've won before a ball has been kicked. It's that lack of knowing which makes sport exciting. In a sense, rugby league's problem is the reverse of soccer's (and to an extent union's). The domestic game is competitive, the international game isn't. I think RL has to be creative though because as you rightly say, it's the international game which will pull in new people. I think a World Cup where teams which get knocked out in the groups, perhaps also the quarter finals, could play a shield tournament. That and England and NZ concentrating on doing their own thing and bringing their own styles would make the top tier more interesting too. I agree with a point made elsewhere that aping someone else's style is never going to work in the long run. All it ends up with is doing what the others do just not as well because what is natural to one isn't to another.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Dave View Post
    I could live with that. I might be the kick up the arse the game needs.
    Would going to semi pro lead to a widening of the game with regions where there is a genuine interest in the sport being able to sustain competitive sides? Cumbria and the northeast have a strong interest in RL and might be able to compete at semi-pro level. Also, a few traditional names, Widnes, Featherstone, Leigh for example might benefit from the game going semi pro. As a massive hurling fan (GAA sports are entirely amateur), I'd have no fears of the game losing professional (or fully professional) status because professionalism doesn't necessarily mean a better product (in my opinion, it often produces a worse one).

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Heretic View Post
    Would going to semi pro lead to a widening of the game with regions where there is a genuine interest in the sport being able to sustain competitive sides? Cumbria and the northeast have a strong interest in RL and might be able to compete at semi-pro level. Also, a few traditional names, Widnes, Featherstone, Leigh for example might benefit from the game going semi pro. As a massive hurling fan (GAA sports are entirely amateur), I'd have no fears of the game losing professional (or fully professional) status because professionalism doesn't necessarily mean a better product (in my opinion, it often produces a worse one).
    I honestly don't know, maybe it would because it can be pretty crap at times currently. I think it also depends on what happens in Oz as if we go semi pro and they don't, they'll rinse SL paying players buttons but still more than they'd get here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Dave View Post
    I honestly don't know, maybe it would because it can be pretty crap at times currently. I think it also depends on what happens in Oz as if we go semi pro and they don't, they'll rinse SL paying players buttons but still more than they'd get here.
    I find it hard to believe that Australia is going to emerge out of this with 16 fully professional teams. At least going by the Fifth and Last coverage, it would seem unlikely. I can see V'landys streamlining the competition too. Also, the AFL being fully professional and Gaelic football being entirely amateur doesn't end up with loads of the top Gaelic footballers being taken over there (a few do go, most of them come back, a couple make it but it doesn't rinse the product). Admittedly, it's far easier to ask a semi pro rugby league player to go play a pro version of the same sport but Aussie Rules and GF would be similar enough (they play a compromise rules international competition and it isn't all one way, Ireland has won it fairly regularly). There certainly would be a number of SL players who would go to Australia but it might not be as drastic as first thought. Also, there is only so much squad space even with 16 pro teams and as I said, at least going by F&L, it's highly unlikely that all 16 will survive.

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    According to Michael Gove this morning, pubs, clubs and restaurants will be the last to reopen, by implication that must include sports clubs, I don't fancy watching games on t.v. solely behind closed doors even if that is allowed, it really does look like some sort of winter season just to get some finance back into the game, I'd sooner that happen than trying to play a couple of games a week with no crowd.thats not going to raise much money apart from fulfilling the sky contract

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woolyback View Post
    According to Michael Gove this morning, pubs, clubs and restaurants will be the last to reopen, by implication that must include sports clubs, I don't fancy watching games on t.v. solely behind closed doors even if that is allowed, it really does look like some sort of winter season just to get some finance back into the game, I'd sooner that happen than trying to play a couple of games a week with no crowd.thats not going to raise much money apart from fulfilling the sky contract
    I wouldn't be adverse to it coming back behind closed doors. I'm not a fan of watching sport in that situation, it always appears sterile and somewhat artificial, but it's a bit of beggars can't be choosers right now. At least it would give something current and relevant to keep an eye on and look forward to.

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